Saturday, June 9, 2012
Two Peters Township products drafted
As far as senior seasons go, it's tough to top Jimmy Rider's year as a member of the Kent State University baseball team.
Rider recently became the Golden Flashes' all-time hits leader, and has 346 for his career. Kent State is a baseball program which has produced former New York Yankees Thurman Munson and Gene Michael, and former Pirates first-round draft pick John VanBenschoten.
Then, Kent State won the Mid-American Conference, again, and clinched a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. With significant contributions from Rider, the Golden Flashes' starting shortstop the past four years, Kent State has advanced to the Eugene Super Regional. If Kent State wins a three-game series against Oregon, it advances to the College World Series.
Rider's best graduation gift likely came Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 26th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. The Pirates pan on moving Rider to second base.
"I went to a lot of Pirates games growing up and I've always followed them," Rider said. "I watch them on TV any time I get a chance. ... I've always been a huge Pirates fan."
Jordan Jankowski, Rider's former high school teammate, likely took an interest in the Houston Astros when the organization selected him in the 34th round of the 2008 draft. The Astros certainly remembered Jankowski as his college career took him from Miami (Ohio) to Division II Catawba (N.C.).
They drafted Jankowski with the first pick of the 34th round.
Jankowski led Division II with 126 strikeouts during the regular season. He did not pitch for Catawba in the Division II tournament.s
Rider and Jankowski are the seventh and eighth players from Peters Township drafted since Joe Maize became head coach.
Last year, Justin Bianco was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jim Gallagher was a seventh round pick of the Chicago White Sox and still with the organization. Joe Kail, Jason DiAngelo, Brian Simmons and Chris Peters were the others. Simmons and Peters each played in the major leagues. Peters was a pitcher for the Pirates.